Eddie Rumsey & Jean Goode talk about the history of Hereford’s livestock market. This interview was filmed for ‘Chewing the Cud: Memories from Hereford’s Old Livestock Market’ a Catcher Media project.
How Eddie and Jean got to know each other, through being Market Assistant in 1950 to the superintendant Albert Whithall – Jean joined later in 1958 at the age of 17 working with Eddie. (00:42) At this time there was a different Superintendent Arthur Greenhalsh who had his own little office with Eddie and Jean in an outer office which was called ‘The Roundhouse’, a brick building that got freezing cold in the winter with a quarry tiled floor. Jean and Eddie would share a 2-Bar electric fire for heating. (01:20) Jean recalls Eddie having a desk, but she had a kitchen table with a little typewriter sat on top. Jean and Eddie talked before the interview and estimate it to be 52 years since they last saw each other.
(1:40) Eddie explains further his role as Market Assistant under Albert Whithall, he was the first member of his staff and would keep records of the livestock entering the market and also keep records of the car parking fees that were paid into the office. (02:24) Jean describes her role as a clark typist for the superintendent, who had a private office but she shared an outer office (the roundhouse) with Eddie. The office was just across from the covered Pig section, and next door to the Deanley Cafe. (03:00) Eddie talks about how the Deanley appeared to provide refreshments to the drovers who used to bring the cattle years before on foot.
(03:27) Jean talks about Mrs. Beason who was the mangers of the Dean Leigh, recalling there were the half a dozen boilers in the back section to provide tea and coffee, along side Mrs. Kings memorable Tea Urn, which tasted like nothing you had ever tasted in your life.
(04:13) Eddie describes how Hereford Livestock market had the largest throughput of any municipally owned market in the country with over a quarter of a million livestock going through in the course of a year. The only other market that was larger was Banbury market which was privately owned.
(04:43) Eddie recalls that the livestock entered via the entrance in Black Friar Street where there was a hut, manned by Harry Farmer would collect tolls from the lorry drivers and farmers (05:30) at the end of the day all of those tickets would come back to Jean and Eddie’s office to then be entered in to a big ledger, which would take all day thursday, and balanced for each book of 50 tickets.
(06:54) Jean describes how the market was used differently on each day of the week, a format that was used for many years. (07:25) Eddie recalls that, around the time he joined in 1950, there was what was called the ‘October Fair’ which was an annual horse faire held in the market, many travellers used to come (07:58) Another special event in the market life was the pedigree Hereford cattle show and sale organised by the Hereford Herd book Society. (08:40) When Jean and Eddie moved to their new offices they overlooked the square where Jean would watch the animals being shown.
(08:55) Hereford Christmas fat stock show and sale. (09:28) Silver cups were also awarded by the market, who organised the show each year, where farmers who won would hold the silver cup for 12 months which would have been engraved each year with the winners. (10:08) In the evening after the market there would be a dinner in the farmers club to celebrate.
⁃ (10:17) At the time Eddie joined the Markets department plans were drawn up for the development of the livestock market. The Langford sale ring was the first building to be completed – with covered area’s for cattle beside it.
⁃ (11:43) The open retail market was held on a Wednesday, where market traders from all over the Midlands and South Wales used to come to Hereford to sell their wares. (12:15) Jean remembers how the man who sold the crockery, Walter Davis from Worcester, would put on an amazing show (12:40) Eddie recalls the Walter also used to come along with his brother and sell linoleum off the back of a lorry. He ones one of many characters in that market. (13:04) As time went on, after Eddie had left his role, Jean remembers that the market grew and grew from 30-35 stalls when Eddie began at 18 shillings upwards depending on the space you took up, to many more than that. (14:17) Eddie remembers that another aspect of his job was to collect the rents and tolls on the Buttermarket as well on a Wednesday and a Saturday.
Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
See the film: http://herefordshirelifethroughalens.org.uk